Modern leftism makes more sense when you understand that the only consistent principle is obtaining power.
See if this scenario sounds familiar: A crowd of angry protesters storm into the capitol building, upset over the proceedings. Some more aggressive individuals take to the legislative floor, bringing a halt to official business.
What happens next? It depends on the political motivations of those involved.
When rioters stormed the U.S. Capitol on Jan. 6, 2021, the condemnation was swift. President Joe Biden labeled it an “insurrection.” Federal officials have gone after violent rioters. But they’ve also spent years aggressively tracking down people who peacefully entered the building and walked around.
But the reaction is different when the disruptors are Democrats seeking gun control. In March, left-leaning protesters stormed into the Tennessee Capitol. Three state House members disrupted the proceedings and took over the floor. One had a bullhorn and led chants.
Democrats and the media lavished praise on the three legislators. The fawning increased after the Tennessee House expelled two of them.
Biden tweeted that he had conducted a video call to thank “them for their leadership and courage.” The White House gave these Democrats more attention than the families of the six people murdered by a transgender shooter.
Former President Barack Obama said their expulsion — not their halting of official business — was an “example of a broader erosion of civility and democratic norms.”
Irony is dead.
You can’t make a principled argument against a mob disrupting legislative business if you won’t apply it to your allies. But few on the left appear interested in principles.
For decades, the left held up the Supreme Court’s invention of a constitutional right to abortion as sacrosanct. Imagine the reaction if a red state had said it was going to ignore the Roe v. Wade ruling and prosecute abortionists.
Yet, now major Democrats want to disregard court decisions. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she believed “the Biden administration should ignore” a recent federal court ruling restricting an abortion drug. Some voices on the left have offered up feeble resistance, but if the ruling stands that’s unlikely to last.
Most politicians want it both ways at some point, but there’s a pattern involving foundational standards.
Obama used the filibuster to block a judicial nominee of President George W. Bush. When he later decided the filibuster should be abolished, he painted it as racist. Dissent was patriotic during the Bush administration. Now campus leftists shout down or physically attack conservative speakers. Even the ACLU is considering the political views of those involved before taking on free speech cases.
Many on the left no longer have consistent principles. This may stem from the critical race theory worldview that progressives have bought into. It holds that life is a battle between two groups — the oppressors and the victims.
In critical race theory, people are divided by race. The oppressors use their power to construct systems that enshrine their privilege. Those in the victim group can’t succeed on their own. To help them, the values and infrastructure of modern society must be torn down and rebuilt.
If you accept this false dichotomy, the only thing that matters is obtaining and wielding power. It’s why radical leftists, who energize the modern Democratic Party, can so easily switch their positions. If a long-standing principle is helpful in the moment, use it. If it’s not, discard it.
This is repackaged Marxism, including the desire for revolution. Once you understand the worldview, it’s easy to see how the left views some insurrections as more equal than others.